As a parent and grandparent, I was very hesitant to watch Rabbit Hole because I knew that it focused on parents who were dealing with the death of their child. After much encouragement from my wife, Lauren, and one of our community members (Mark), and with the tragedy in Tucson in the background, we watched the film last night and were absolutely mesmerized.
As a film, the challenge of Rabbit Hole is akin to making the perfect souffle and not letting it fall apart, or performing a high-wire act between two skyscrapers without a net. How do you make a film about the most tragic loss any adult can possibly imagine and nevertheless inject it with so much love, humanity, humor and hope that it transcends its challenges and becomes a healing experience? Just ask the film’s brilliant young director John Cameron Mitchell, its screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (brilliantly adapting his own Tony- and Pulitzer Award-winning play) and stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and a remarkable young actor named Miles Teller. Together, they have created nothing less than a miracle of a film that is not only enthralling and deeply moving but that will always be available as a beacon of hope and healing to people who have suffered such a tragic loss or who have friends and family members who are dealing with that almost incomprehensible challenge.
In the aftermath of the tragic events in Tucson earlier this month, the film takes on so much more added poignancy when one considers that the parents of 9-year-old Christina Green are now beginning their own experience of the loss of their precious daughter. Ms. Kidman and Mr. Eckhart play the parents in Rabbit Hole with so much raw emotion and vulnerability that my mind kept drifting to Christina Green’s parents as the film delved into every emotion the grieving parents face, from the challenges in their marriage, to their relationships with their friends and other family members (most particularly Ms. Wiest, whose performance as Ms. Kidman’s mother is so loving and human that it almost defies description), and, most searingly, to their moments alone with their personal grief and anger.
When a film comes along that is as brilliant, humane and ultimately hopeful as Rabbit Hole, it reminds me again of the beauty, dignity and love that a special film can bring into our lives. I can only hope that those responsible for the making of Rabbit Hole sleep well in the knowledge that they have created a lasting monument to the best and most courageous aspects of our humanity. As such, they deserve our love, respect and eternal gratitude for making a film that elevates the fragile art form of filmmaking into a state of grace.